New England/Northeast RPM Meet – 2015

One of the freight cars Dave Oppedisano had on display showcasing his weathering techniques.

I was in Collinsville, CT this weekend for the New England/Northeast RPM Meet.  As always it was a good time though there seemed to be fewer models this year than last.  Not sure what that’s about, but it is what it is.  The models that were on display however were of the quality I’ve come to expect from the attendees of this meet.  I especially enjoyed the two presentations Brian Banna gave about building his MoPac SD40-2 and GP35 and was glad to get the chance to see some of his work in person.

If you haven’t attended before, consider it for next year.  I have no interest in New England (or even east coast) prototypes, but I always find a lot of variety in the model room and have conversations that introduce me to new ideas and new skills to make my modeling better.

I took a lot of photo’s this year, check them out below the cut. Please let me know if I attributed anything incorrectly or misspelled any names.

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Gunderson Twin-Stack – Part 1

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Three of five cars have been completed on the A-Line Gunderson Twin-Stack set I’m building. Clearly I need a bigger photo backdrop…

I was looking back through my old posts and realized that I’d never written about the intermodal cars I’ve been building off-and-on for the last few years.  I recently started working on them again and though I’ve posted a lot of grab shots to Facebook, I figured it was about time I wrote a little something as well. Continue reading

Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show – 2015

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Rapido’s upcoming Amtrak F40PH on display at the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show.

This past weekend I attended the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. The RHS is the largest (in terms of square footage) model railroad related event in North America.  Most years it’s a pretty chaotic scene.  This year opening day coincided with a major snowstorm so apart from the harrowing drive there, it was pretty relaxed.  I didn’t hear the final attendance numbers, but they were definitely low.  I spent the weekend at the New England/Northeast RPM booth displaying some models and generally just hanging around.  I did manage to wander around a bit though and have included some photos below the cut.

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Layout Valance and Staging – Part 1

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The layout with its new valance and staging yard all custom built to accommodate my apartment and furniture.

I’ve been writing a lot about my adventures trackside lately, but have neglected to mention the progress I’ve made on the layout.  A couple of huge leaps were made over the last few months.

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Seattle North Coast F7A #101 – Completed

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SNCT F7A #101 is finally done!

On November 19, 2007 I wrote this post about the model of SNCT #101 that I was just starting to build.  Almost seven(!) years later it’s finally done.  Granted, most of that time I wasn’t working on it.  I got distracted by other projects and life in general, but still, there’s probably at least a good year or two worth of regular work sessions in this model and for the most part I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
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New England/Northeast RPM Meet – 2014

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Neil Schofield’s engine terminal diorama.

Last weekend I attended the 2014 New England/Northeast Railroad Prototype Modelers Meet. It was a great show this year.  More models than I think I’ve ever seen and the quality was as excellent as it always is.  I don’t really attend clinics, so I can’t say much about them, though I did go to the LokSound USA presentation which I found interesting.  Matt explained a lot about the sound decoder market and went over some basic programming techniques using LokSounds Programmer.

I’ve posted all my photo’s below.  I tried to caption each one with the modelers name, but I missed a few.  If anyone can tell me who built the uncredited one’s, let me know and I’ll update the page.  For even more photo’s, check out Stuart Chirls’ gallery too.

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Practice makes Perfect: Building a Diorama – Part 1.

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The foam diorama I created to test my ideas. It matches the profile of the layout bases. The square hole is where the switch machine will be mounted.

In order to better visualize how my layout plan will work, I built a small diorama to test my ideas.  It’s the same thickness as the layout baseboards (a 1″ piece of foam with a 2″ piece of foam on top where the track is and a 3/4″ piece of foam for the water, so the maximum thickness is 3″, minimum thickness is 1 3/4″).  This will allow me to test my switch machine mounting system, turnout construction and placement, sub-roadbed, and scenery techniques.  Read on to see what I’ve done so far.

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Building Foam Baseboards

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Railroad books have many uses!

I’m slowly working my way towards being able to lay track on my model railroad.  One big step that I’d been putting off due to the finicky nature of getting it right, was final assembly on all the foam baseboards.  Since I live in an apartment and the layout will eventually need to move, the baseboard is divided into three equal sections.  That creates two joints that will have many tracks and a large expanse of “water” spanning them.  I have a little experience building modules, and I know that if the joints have large gaps and don’t line up vertically, it’s a huge headache later in the building process, so I’m trying to get everything as tight as possible from the very beginning.

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Working Ditch and Step lights for BNSF 7070 and 7072

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The front pilot of #7070 with the right ditch light and and step light lit via a 9v battery.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do with the BNSF SD40-2’s from the very beginning was to light them as completely as possible.  To me, that means more than just the usual ditch light, head light and reverse light.  My goal is to have working step lights; truck lights; front, rear and side walkway lights; number board lights and cab interior lighting.  This has slowed construction considerably and is going to create a mess of wiring inside the shell, but judging by this latest progress photo, I think it will be worth the effort.

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